I love reading stories like, “The FAA May Let You Fly Drones Over People,” because they give hope to the drone industry. Regardless of your vertical, if you are involved in the drone industry, then you are waiting, patiently, for the FAA to establish a framework that allows for commercial drone operation in the national airspace system.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday said it would develop drone regulations allowing some unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to fly over people, an authorization eagerly sought by a range of industries including real estate and agriculture.
The U.S. aviation regulatory agency, under pressure from Congress and industry to accommodate commercial drones, said it established a rule-making committee that would recommend a new regulatory framework by April 1.
Authorization to fly over people would be vital to the kind of package delivery services envisioned by Amazon.com and Alphabet’s Google. But the new committee will focus on smaller UAVs that are used for aerial photography in real estate, agriculture and surveying.
The drones to be examined would include micro UAVs that weigh no more than 4.4 pounds. But larger ones could also be included if their design, shape or slow speed posed little or no risk to people on the ground or to manned aircraft, the FAA said.
Without major changes, the growth of the drone industry is being artificially limited by the FAA. I’m hopeful that new the regulations are released soon, but until they are, we are all stuck waiting.